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Morning Meaning

It seems slightly obvious to say some­thing about how impor­tant the concept of commu­nity” is at a school. School, ideally, is a series of various inter­act­ing commu­ni­ties: parent, teacher, class, campus. Nothing ground­break­ing here. But, see, we’re not talking just school, we’re talking Waverly. And as you might have expe­ri­enced in your time here, we’re a little…different. I can’t even say why, exactly. It’s just there, that feeling.

OK, back­track. I’m a yoga teacher, a medi­ta­tion teacher, a tiny entre­pre­neur whose work is nothing if not based on gath­er­ing, indi­vid­u­als coming together to create a collec­tive. The Sanskrit word sangha is reso­nant for me, if that doesn’t make me sound too hippie 3.0. Thich Nhat Hanh, Viet­namese monk and activist, defines sangha as a beloved community.”

Beloved. That’s the kicker. We can have commu­ni­ties all we want, but beloved? Boom.

Part of my job, which in the classic Waverly Way defies any sort of defi­n­i­tion, is coming to the elemen­tary school at what feels like the crack of dawn to hang out with the early students. I tend to perch atop the dome on the play­ground for vantage point reasons, and I get to see all kinds of morning feels: chil­dren burst­ing through the gate with uncon­tained energy, or droopy and sleepy-bodied, or already deep into a book, or grip­ping an adult hand, a little vulner­a­ble. Always I see eyes, widen­ing, search­ing, reach­ing out for someone or something familiar.

Waverly is a small shop. Famil­iar is readily avail­able to anyone at any time. Heidi, famously, knows the name of each and every student (or…seems to. In my sixteen years here I have never once witnessed anything differ­ent). I can be in the bath­room stall and hear HI MEG!” because every­one knows my shoes. The same kids climb up the dome to sit with me in the morning and we have our own special language. Eyes meet. Greet­ings exchanged. Hands held. Jokes told. Games played. Buckets filled.

The thing about the morning is the new thing. The start of some­thing. Fresh take. Infi­nite oppor­tu­nity. Inhale exhale. Wide open heart. Chil­dren looking at, seeking out others in their friend group, class, commu­nity, for those few moments of unde­fined, beloved togeth­er­ness. We know each other. We talk and we listen. We might stay quiet. We keep each other safe. From my perch, my own morning start gaze, that tiny time before the bell rings, that vital time, the rise of the day’s sangha, is the thing. The Waverly thing.

Meg Brad­bury
Assis­tant to the Head of School and other stuff